Rail cases with longer than 20 days response time

Operator response delays

Not all cases that are open longer than usual are because the operator has not responded to the caseworker. Some cases take longer to deal with as they require further investigation and other cases can be kept open to allow ongoing negotiation between London TravelWatch and the operator. This is acceptable as long as the caseworker keeps the appellant updated on a regular basis.

Some cases where the transport operator has taken what could be considered too long to respond to London TravelWatch, have nevertheless been resolved to the passenger’s satisfaction. The caseworkers are aware that response delays from operators do not necessarily mean negative outcomes for passengers and keep this in mind when chasing the transport operator for a response.

The transport operator sometimes asks for further information that can delay the case being closed while the caseworker requests this from the passenger. Such cases can become lengthy; particularly if the passenger is away at the time the request is made.

Rail cases with longer than 20 days response times - quarter 2 2017/18

During quarter two there were 29 cases where the rail operator took over 20 days to send a response to London TravelWatch. Below are some representative examples of these cases.

Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia Mr K was finding it difficult distinguishing between tickets available on Greater Anglia’s ticket machines as the only visible difference between the tickets was the price.  Greater Anglia did advise Mr K that they would look into it but then it appeared no further action was taken so Mr K approached London TravelWatch. Greater Anglia made a very thorough investigation and tested the system. Greater Anglia confirmed that corrections would be made. We informed the passenger and closed the case.  Mr K was happy and did not come back to London TravelWatch so it appears that the system corrections were made.

GTR

Mr D wrote to GTR regarding proposed timetable changes for 2018 but as he got nothing other than an automatic acknowledgement and no final reply after two months, he came to London TravelWatch.  The case was appealed and chased.  GTR gave assurance that their consultations team would shortly be replying to Mr D and the case was closed on this understanding.

GWR

Mr L missed his train due to late platform change announcement at Paddington.  He complained to GWR but was unhappy with the standard response which didn’t address all the issues including his complaint about the lack of communication between staff and general bad handling of the situation.  London TravelWatch appealed the case but received no response within the timeframe.  Before chasing GWR, Mr L then contacted London TravelWatch to say that GWR had responded directly to him in error.  They told him the fault was down to the crew taking longer than normal to prepare the train and offered him £20 worth of vouchers as a goodwill gesture. Mr L was happy with the outcome to his complaint.

Southeastern

Mr C submitted claims to Southeastern for extra travel costs incurred as a result of train cancellations.  He was incorrectly informed that these claims were the responsibility of Southern Railway and documents were forwarded to them.  No response from Southern was received so Mr C appealed to London TravelWatch who wrote to Southeastern.  Their investigation revealed that the case was Southeasterns and agreed to a part refund of the additional travel costs and a good will gesture

Southern

Ms A was unable to print out her pre-ordered tickets due to her no longer having the same credit card she booked with.  She was advised to purchase new tickets and then claim the money for the additional ticket back, but the claim was rejected.  She contacted London TravelWatch who appealed to Southern. After requests for further information Southern agreed to a part refund but this was substantially less than the cost of the original tickets.  The caseworker appealed again and Southern agreed to refund in full.

SWR

Mr P submitted a Delay Repay claim, but other than an acknowledgment heard nothing from SWR for two months.  London TravelWatch appealed the case, and SWR responded that they had written to the passenger for his card details and were waiting for his reply. London TravelWatch wrote to Mr P copying in the original card request email.  His response was sent to SWR who made the refund.

Virgin Trains

Mr T alleged unfair treatment when denied boarding at Euston.  He was told he could not board but other passengers were being allowed on.  Virgin’s response was that their staff had acted correctly.  Mr T came to London TravelWatch seeking an apology from Virgin. After our appeal Mr T was fully refunded and given a complimentary return first class ticketto any destination on their network.  London TravelWatch’s case remained open until confirmation of these actions had been received.

Virgin Trains East Coast

Although Virgin Trains East Coast had agreed to refund Mr L, he did not receive it.  After several weeks with still no refund he came to London TravelWatch.   The case was appealed and a month later chased. Virgin Trains East Coast had attempted to transfer the money to Mr L but made a mistake with the banking co-ordinates.  They said they would try again with the right details and the case was closed.